In 1990, Lamborghini S.p.A introduced their latest mid-engined, high performance sports car, and in keeping with their tradition of naming the cars after Italian fighting bulls. This monstrous car was named after a ferocious example raised by the Duke of Veragua in the 19th century known as ‘’Diablo’’, or in English, Devil.
Prior to its introduction, the sharp and dramatic lines of the Marcello Gandini design were somewhat softened by the pen of Tom Gale and his presentation of the car opened to rave reviews. The two door, rear wheel drive, mid-engined coupé was powered by a 5.7 litre, V12 and about 490 horses found their way to the tarmac through a 5-speed manual transmission, resulting in a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. The SV (Super Veloce) was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in 1995, this awesome car was the first to grace the ‘SV’ badge since the Miura, but with the badge of course came increased power which was now 510 bhp alongside other improvements/upgrades. These included larger front brakes, an adjustable spoiler and three piece wheels.
Model Description and History
After 17 years in production, the legendary Countach was replaced by the Diablo, which on its arrival was the fastest, most advanced and most expensive Lamborghini ever built. First exhibited publicly at Monaco in January 1990, the Diablo improved on its illustrious predecessor in every way, setting a new benchmark in supercar design. Nobody can have been surprised to learn that it had been styled by Marcello Gandini, the man responsible for the Lamborghini Miura and Countach, for the family resemblance was obvious.
Beneath the skin there was a steel spaceframe chassis, developed from the Countach's, but constructed of square-section rather than round tubing and incorporating 'crumple zones' at front and rear. The use of carbon-fibre composite panels, first seen in the Countach 'Evoluzione' model, was extended in the Diablo, which also featured revised suspension capable of accommodating the envisaged future developments of four-wheel drive and active suspension. Stretched to 5.7 litres for the Diablo, Lamborghini's 48-valve V12 engine gained fuel injection for the first time and producing a maximum of 492bhp. Of equal, if not greater significance, maximum torque went up to 428lb/ft, an improvement of 55% over the Countach. Catalytic converters were standard, enabling the reworked V12 to meet emissions requirements worldwide.
With more power and a lower drag coefficient than the Countach, the Lamborghini Diablo easily eclipsed its forebear, exceeding 200mph (322km/h) on test. More importantly, its acceleration and top speed figures were marginally better than those of the Ferrari F40. The Diablo though, was not a limited edition model like the latter, but a series production car with a luxuriously appointed interior reflecting its designers' intention to produce a civilised Gran Turismo as suited to city streets and motorways as the racetrack. Four-wheel drive Diablo VT and Targa-style open roadster versions soon followed and then came the Diablo SE (Special Edition) which were built to celebrate Lamborghini's 30 years as a car manufacturer.
Designed to appeal more to the enthusiast driver, a simpler and lighter two-wheel drive Diablo SV (Super Veloce) was introduced in 1995 and came with a 510bhp engine, other changes included an adjustable rear spoiler, different lighting, a ducted engine lid and larger diameter front brakes.
In popular culture, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit uses the Lamborghini Diablo SV as the flagship car of the game. The car became emblematic of the Need for Speed franchise, making several appearances throughout later entries in the series.
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